Wines of the Valencian Community
The most important Valencian wines for wine lovers is the DO Valencia (Denominación de Origen or Protected Designation of Origin). The DO Valencia is a large quality wine region that includes 4 sub-regions.
There are two other official PDOs in the Valencian Community: the Alicante PDO and the widely recognized Utiel-Requena PDO. Cava is produced in Utiel-Requena, but it has its own appellation of origin, not linked to the geography or the Valencian Community. The Valencian province of Castellón, bordering Catalonia, has around twenty wineries spread over three counties, most of them relatively new. The wine regions of Castellón have not yet been designated as DO/DOP.
The most exciting development of the DOs of the Valencian Community has been the drive of winemakers who have committed themselves to preserving very promising grape varieties that were on the verge of extinction, and to building on traditional methods and blends through innovation.
Wines from Valencia
The Valencia D.O. is actually made up of 4 very different sub-regions, one of which is geographically isolated from the others.
Located in the northeast, at the highest altitude of the D.O. Valencia vineyards, Alto Turia produces fresh white wines, mostly made from the native Merseguera grape (known locally as “Verdosilla”). Red wines (Bobal and Tempranillo) are also produced here.
The highly variable terroir accommodates many white and red grape varieties. This area is dominated by low-cost, high-volume producers (mostly cooperatives), but also produces quality wines.
This warm, humid, low-lying area, closer to the Mediterranean, produces sweet and aromatic wines of high alcohol content made from Muscatel grapes (a native variety known as Moscatel de Alejandría). Muscat of Alexandria grapes have been grown in Moscatel and Alicante for more than 2,000 years. They are the only grapes capable of growing near the sea and surviving hot summers, high humidity and salt. Sparkling wines and dry white blends are also produced here. Mistela is also extracted from the muscatel grape.
The Valencian Tuscany is what is called the area of the Terres dels Alforins de Clariano, a must to visit this sub-region. The Clariano wineries are located in the southernmost area of the D.O. Valencia, on the border with the D.O. Alicante.
The Clariano winegrowers have been responsible for saving a number of native grapes on the verge of extinction, especially the Verdil, but also reds such as Mandó and Forcalla. Clariano’s winemakers are known for their fine red wines, for experimentation and advances in winemaking, and for producing a variety of fresh and flavorful whites.
Wine with denomination of origin Utiel Requena
Less than an hour west of Valencia city lies the award-winning wine region of Utiel Requena.
The highest quality single vineyards or wine estates throughout Spain receive the appellation “Vino de Pago” for their bottled wines (Catalonia has a similar appellation). Four of the 17 wineries designated as Vino de Pago since the program’s creation in 2003 are located in Valencia, and all of them are in the Utiel-Requena DO, in the hills west of the capital. These are El Terrerazo (only Bodega Mustiguillo), Pago de Los Balagueses, Pago de Chozas Carrascal (in San Antonio de Requena) and Vera de Estenas.
In fact, given their continued commitment to quality, producers in the Utiel-Requena area have achieved 3 of the last 5 “Vino de Pago” designations in the country.
Utiel-Requena produces many fine wines and is the center of quality Bobal wine production in Spain. If you plan to visit Valencian wineries, make Utiel-Requena your first stop.
Wines from Alicante
The Alicante D.O. produces both white and red wines, including native varieties from Valencia and other areas of Spain, as well as international varieties.
Muscatel, merseguera, macabeo, planta fina (another rare variety) and airén are native whites.
Monastrell is the dominant red grape produced here. It is bottled as a single varietal or as part of a blend in dry reds. Monastrell is also used to produce Fondillóns, a highly respected dessert wine with a long tradition that is a source of pride in the Alicante wine community.
Wines of Spain
Spain is the third largest wine producer in the world and the second oldest wine producing country in Western Europe. And, favored by the differences in climate and soil in each of its regions, its more than 10,000 wineries produce wines of extreme diversity.
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